Country Girl

…continued from “Omnipresent Felines”

On March 3, 2007 I moved out of my parents’ three-story farmhouse that is nestled in a valley in the vast countryside of rural Pennsylvania. I had lived there since I was two-years-old and left when I was twenty-one-years-old.  I exchanged country living for town living in an apartment.   I went from living on a couple hundred acres of farmland and countryside to having no yard at all.  Instead of birds and peepers, I hear cars and trucks with loud exhaust pipes, motorcycles, neighbors cursing, and the next-door elderly couple yelling at each other in their native tongue.  Instead of picturesque rolling fields of green and tall evergreen trees hugging the farmhouse, there’s buildings and electric wires that clutter my window views.

a partial view of some of the fields surrounding the house

the view from our apartment dining room window

It has been four and a half years since I left my isolated country dwelling.   I’m still not fully adjusted to living in town and having neighbors.  After all, you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl.

from left: our neighbor Ernie, my dad, & my brother Jim- This picture was taken a loooong time ago, definitely over 10 years ago. Poor Ernie is no longer alive, but he'd always help my dad with the hay baling.

My dad July 2011 with three wagons full of hay bales.

My sister Katie. She was actually driving the tractor, not posing for a picture. This was taken at least 10 years ago.

I left behind many aspects of country living that I love.  I really miss the Spring Peepers serenading me with their song; their chorus resemblant of sleigh bells.  I was always fond of waking up to the birds chirping early in the morning.  I enjoyed listening to the sound of the lawn mower or the revving of the tractor.  To this day, there’s nothing like the smell of fresh cut grass.  In the summer, we’d sit around a campfire almost every night in our  country worn out hoodie sweathshirts.  We lived on hotdogs, hamburgers, and mom’s homemade potato and macaroni salads all summer long, but none of us seemed to mind.

My mom and me this summer. We had friends over and were cooking food over an open camfire.

My mother and I share a love of Autumn.  For most people, Spring is the season of change and rejuvenation.  However, it’s when the cool autumn air sweeps in that rejuvenates me.   Hey Summer!  Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!  I love everything associated with the fall season.  The fresh, crisp air is a welcome respite from the ghastly hot and humid sauna of a season I’ve endured the past few summers.

Here I am at the Gratz, PA fair in 2009. My maiden name is Chalmers. No, my first name isn't Allis.

Autumn is the season of burnt orange, fiery red, golden yellow and eggplant purple.  I love these colors integrated into the season’s fashion.  Out with the summer’s flimsy threads and in with fall’s thickly woven duds.

Here I am again at the Gratz fair- October 2009. I usually go to fairs just to see the animals. Well, maybe the food too. 😉

Autumn is the season for apple dumplings and pumpkin pie.  My mother, known by all as a fabulous cook and baker, would make her moist pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting. It’s the season of cinnamon and nutmeg.  Autumn is the best time of year back home.  Many city folk travel hundreds of miles and pay an arm and a leg to stay in a hotel just to view the changed leaves and visit the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon.  For my family it’s just a driveway’s ride away from viewing the spectacular autumn transformation.

an Autumn welcome for anyone arriving at the Chalmers' home

October 2009- from left: my nephew Ondrej, my sister Katie, my mom, my niece Ellie- Katie and Ondrej were getting ready to go hunting.

During the cold months, which could last from October on into late May, the kitchen and living room woodstoves were always a welcome comfort.  One of my friends even said that she loved smelling the wood smoke on my clothes when she’d give me a hug.  Beside the kitchen wood stove sits an Amish-made oak rocking chair.  I don’t think I’ve ever missed a chair before, but I miss that one.  Why buy a humidifier when a basin full of water can be on top the woodstoves?  I remember one of my sisters putting orange peels on top of the kitchen woodstove in place of store-bought potpourri.

This is me 10+ years ago fetching corn from the barn for the front porch corn stove.

These are my two sisters, the twins, Katie and Kelly. They're also fetching corn for the corn stove- 10+ years ago.

Probably the best winter memories involve food.  Are you really surprised?  I can still smell the yeast from the bread dough laying in its bowl, covered with a dish towel, resting on top of the highest cook book shelf near the kitchen stove.  It was waiting to be risen from its shallow depths and plunged into the hot oven.  *contented sigh*  I loved my mom’s homemade and hand kneaded honey-wheat bread.  What’s a nice thick slice of homemade bread, fresh from the oven, spread with a thick layer of butter without a bowl of hot, homemade soup?  My favorites?  Mom’s ham and bean, thick beefy chili, and creamy, cheesy broccoli and ham soup.  With all that yummy god-sent goodness, you might as well invite some friends over to partake, and  let the card games begin!

I was never interested in learning to make bread while living at home. Last year I learned by myself with the help of Taste of Home. This is my Cranberry Swirl Bread.

Despite the enormous change in my living environment, there was still one change that seemed even more distinct — the absence of animal life.  I could no longer hear the birds chirping.  Unfortunately, their songs couldn’t compete with the ear-splitting noise from exhaust pipes, tires squeeling, horns honking, neighbors yelling, etc.  I didn’t hear my Spring Peepers anymore.  Can Spring Peepers even be found in town?

To be continued…


5 comments on “Country Girl

  1. Andi says:

    I love the pictures but I think you need to post some of your drawings as well. 🙂

  2. annie says:

    wow. really, really good… ya almost had me crying. yeah, i miss to.


  3. you should check out my blog.. ..i think you would like it.. and add me on facebook too! 🙂

  4. Lorie Chalmers says:

    As always, very nice.

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